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rectorGod’s Kind of Salvation, take 2.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

When Jesus comes away from being tempted in the wilderness, he enters Galilee, the region of Samaria where Jesus grew up. It is significant that he was in Galilee, because this was an area that was considered outside the pale so to speak, outside of acceptable society. Jesus was beginning His ministry amidst people who were less socially acceptable than those in the inner circle of the church, those who carried weight in the city of Jerusalem, God’s own Holy City, where Jesus would be killed.

Jesus’ words remind us, that God approaches people where they are, not where He is. That means, God is looking for you wherever you are right now, right this very minute, are you ready to hear God calling?

Jesus says “the time is fulfilled,” and this is a phrase that many people may find difficult to understand. You understand when you smell the turkey in the oven, that it is ready or nearly ready. You know when the petrol gauge reads empty it is time for visiting your local petrol station. You know that when your stomach is empty, you need to eat. Yet Jesus’ words may seem outside of your understanding.

Consider this: God has been in a relationship with people from the beginning of creation and continues to be in a relationship with people today. God is the source of all being. This means that without God there is no life. A simple way of saying this is life wants a relationship with you. Let me repeat this, Life wants a relationship with you. Can you imagine this. Life itself wants to be in relationship with you?

You may be thinking, that Steve is an idiotic statement. Of course life wants a relationship with me. After all, I am alive, and if I were not alive than life would not have a relationship with me. If you think like this, then ask yourself the following question.

If you have a relationship with Life itself, then why do you think about death so much? You may refute this question, but I will add the following clarification: Death is anything that is not Life, and I mean anything.

Death is sin, which is separation from God. So if you are thinking about your sins or the sins of others all the time, you are thinking about death. Death is anything that falls short of God’s desire to see you in relationship with His perfect peace. So if you are reflecting or living outside of perfect peace, then you are living outside of what God desires for you. God desires the fullness of life for all His creatures. All means all. John 3:16 reads, for God so loved the world. World is cosmos, that includes all people, God loves all people no matter if they worship Him or not. Yet, because people prefer to reflect and think about their sins and the sins of others, they do not receive the Love God has for them.

So, God is the source of all Life, Yahweh means, I am who am (see Exodus 3:14). God is being itself. So to be is to be in relationship with God, and yet many people walk in death because they cannot receive of the Life God desires for them.

The Time is fulfilled, means that Jesus is coming to restore all people to the fullness of their walk with God. For thousands of years, people have refused or been confused about how to walk with God.

The Devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). He has been at work since the beginning, stealing life, killing life, and destroying life. (see, Genesis 3:1-7). People have chosen to believe that God has wanted them left without guidance or a shepherd. Jesus have come at a time when people are ready to listen and believe in the manifestation of God’s kind of salvation, the God who wants to save people and bring them into the fullness of being, that is the fullness of life itself. Jesus is the fulfilment of the time.

The Kingdom of God is at Hand,” means that God reign is now able to be handled. God, who is the source of all Goodness, desires to welcome you and all people past present and future into the fullness of His goodness. (Regarding the Goodness of God see Psalm 86:5; Psalm 136; Mark 10:18; Matthew 19:17; Luke 18:19; and Genesis, chapter 1 where God declares creation Good over and over).

God is perfect Bliss, God is peace (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15), God is love (1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:7-8, 1 John 4:18), God is Joy (Nehemiah 8:10; Galatians 5:22).

The perfection of Life is always and everywhere to live in His Kingdom, not only in the future, but right now. So if your mind is staid on all that is wrong, on all condemnation, on all guilt, on all shame, on all hatred, on all the fleshly failings, then your mind is running away from God. Jesus calls us to a new reality. (See, John 14:1, and 14:27; Romans 8:6; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5). (Regarding the new reality, see, 2 Corinthians 5:17, and Revelation 21:5).

If God is the perfection of all life, and Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s plan for us, then in Jesus, God’s one and only Son, there is no death, no darkness, no illness, no condemnation. Jesus is coming to invite us into a relationship with God who is the perfection of life itself. Can you believe that?

Jesus' final phrase in Mark 10:15 is “Repent and Believe the Gospel.” The word repent, is pronounced metanoia in the Greek. The word means to turn and face the other direction. If you are going to believe God, you stop facing the other way, that is, away from God.

Many people make this verse simply mean, stop sinning. This is the simplest way to see the verse. But there is an even more moving and inspiring way to see this invitation. Stop looking at all that is wrong in your life and the lives of others, and start looking in what God wants for you. Stop looking at your sin and the sins of others, and start looking at God’s call for your life, to live in the midst of His perfect holiness. This is Good News. This is very Good News, this is the Gospel.

Jesus, whose name means, the God of all being is saving (you and all people), is the fulfilment of God’s goodness and God’s grace. This is a gift (see, Ephesians 2:8-10.) The gift must be received, and we receive the gift by looking to Jesus the perfecter of our faith (see Hebrews 12:1-3), and putting on the full amour of God (see, Ephesians 6:10-20), because we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. We walking in faith (see, Hebrews 11:1), can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (see, Philippians 4:13). Amen

Reverend Stephen McCann

The Rectory
Church Road
Co. Cork
Tel. (028) 37117
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